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Trespass: A Novelby Valerie Martin
Synopses & Reviews
Dark hair and lots of it, heavy brows, sharp features, dark eyes, dark circles under the eyes, dark looks about the room, at the maitre d', the waitress, the trolley laden with rich, tempting desserts, and finally, as Toby guides her to the table, at Chloe, who holds out her hand and says pleasantly, though she is experiencing the first tentative pricks of the panic that will consume her nights and disrupt her days for some time to come, Salome, how good to meet you.
The hand she grasps is lifeless and she releases it almost at once. Toby pulls a chair out, meeting his mother's eyes over the truncated handshake with a look she characterizes as defiant. My mother, Chloe Dale, he says.
Hello, the young woman says, sinking into the chair. Toby lays his fingers upon her shoulder, just for a moment, very much the proprietor, and Salome sends him a weak smile.
On the phone Toby said, You'll like her. She's different. She's very serious.
Which meant this one was not an airhead like Belinda, who had ruined an entire summer the year before. On hearing Toby's description, Brendan warned, Brace up. Young men go for extremes.
That's true, Chloe agreed. You certainly did. She recollected Brendan's mad poet and the bout with the anorexic alcoholic, but she herself had not been a model of probity--the misunderstood artist who read too much William Blake and spent a semester poring over accounts of the Manson murders in preparation for a series of lithographs depicting dismembered female bodies.
The waitress approaches, brandishing heavy, leather-backed menus. Toby reaches for one, so does Chloe. Salome keeps her hands in her lap, forcing the waitressto stretch across the table and slip it in place between the knife and fork. Can I get you something to drink? she inquires.
Let's have a bottle of mineral water for the table, Chloe says, and I'll have a glass of the white Bordeaux.
That sounds good, Toby agrees. I'll have the same.
Salome's eyes come up from the menu and rest on Toby's mouth. Coffee, she says.
She doesn't drink. Is that a good sign?
She lives on coffee, Toby chides indulgently, as if he's letting his mother in on some charming secret. Chloe studies the young woman, who has lowered her eyes to the menu again, a faint smile playing about her lips.
She's confident, Chloe thinks. So, how did you meet? she asks.
We're in the same poli-sci class, Toby says. It's a big lecture. I spotted Salome, but we didn't actually talk until we both showed up at a meeting to organize a campus antiwar group.
That's good, Chloe says. You won't have to go through boring arguments about politics.
What kind of arguments? Salome asks offhandedly, still studying the menu.
About politics, Chloe replies. You're already in agreement. The drinks arrive and the conversation is suspended while the waitre
Chloe Dales's growing dislike of her college-age son Toby's romantic relationship with Salome Drago, a Croatian refugee who is a seductive but somehow toxic blend of the old world and the new, threatens to alienate her from her tolerant husband and besotted son, just as the dangerous secrets of Salome's past bring darkness into all of their lives. 40,000 first printing.
Chloe Dale’s life is in good order. Her only child, Toby, has started his junior year at New York University; her husband, an academic on sabbatical, is working at home on his book about the Crusades; and Chloe is busy creating illustrations for a special edition of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Yet Chloe is disturbed—by the aggression of her government’s foreign policy, by the poacher who roams the land behind her studio punctuating her solitude with rifle fire, and finally, by Toby’s new girlfriend, a Croatian refugee named Salome Drago.
Raised in the Croatian expatriate community of New Orleans, Salome is a toxic mix of the old world and the new: intelligent, superstitious, sly, seductive, and confident. But Salome’s past is a mine of dangerous secrets, and the violence that destroyed her homeland is far from over. Chloe distrusts her on sight, and as Toby’s obsession with Salome grows, Chloe’s mistrust deepens, alienating her from her tolerant husband and besotted son. Rich with menace, the novel unfolds in a world where darkness intrudes into bright and pleasant places, a world with betrayal at its heart. In shimmering prose Valerie Martin raises the question: who shall inherit America?
About the Author
Valerie Martin is the author of three collections of short fiction, most recently The Unfinished Novel and Other Stories, and seven novels, including Italian Fever; The Great Divorce; Mary Reilly, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story told from the viewpoint of a housemaid, which was filmed with Julia Roberts and John Malkovich; and the 2003 Orange Prize–winning Property. She is also the author of a nonfiction work about St. Francis of Assisi: Salvation, Scenes from the Life of St. Francis.
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